'Long Shot' is the summer comedy to beat

With one unforgettable scene, the new Seth Rogen comedy lives up to its title, and then some.

Long Shot

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Rated: R

Run Time: 125 minutes

Directed by Jonathan Levine

Starring Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, June Diane Raphael, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Ravi Patel, Bob Odenkirk and Andy Serkis

Opens Friday, May 3

click to enlarge Seth Rogen, left, and Charlize Theron make for a perfect date-night pairing in Long Shot, a truly funny, seriously raunchy, comedy. - Murray Close/Lionsgate
Murray Close/Lionsgate
Seth Rogen, left, and Charlize Theron make for a perfect date-night pairing in Long Shot, a truly funny, seriously raunchy, comedy.


Long Shot is not only one of the funniest romantic comedies in recent memory, it's also a blistering takedown of our country’s current political landscape, a refreshingly woke treatise on female empowerment and a dreamy blast of nostalgia packed with too-many-to-count pop-culture references.

As a kickstart to the summer movie season, you would be hard-pressed to find a more winning ticket than Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen.

Theron plays U.S. Secretary of State Charlotte Field, whose political star is rising thanks to the craven machinations of sitting President Chambers (a hysterical Bob Odenkirk), who was elected POTUS based solely on media manipulation by the scuzzy Wembley News Network and Chambers’s background as an actor who played the role of president for several seasons on a popular television drama.

Chambers wants to use the Oval Office as a springboard to star in A-list feature films, and he taps Field to be his shoe-in replacement because she’s attractive, not to mention his legacy would be that he groomed the first female president in history.

Field’s political aspirations, which are rooted in conservation and environmentalism, date back to her high school days when she used to babysit her neighbor, Fred Flarsky.

Flarsky (Rogen) grew up to be a daring investigative reporter — Long Shot opens with him attending, and secretly recording, a white supremacist meeting in Brooklyn — whose left-leaning, truth-seeking newspaper has just been gobbled up by Wembley Media, which promptly lays off more than half the staff.

Despondent at the death of local journalism, Flarsky calls his best friend, Lance (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), who takes him to an ultra-exclusive midtown party that Field just happens to be attending. They re-meet cute, but it’s only when Flarsky takes the opportunity to call out right-wing media magnate Parker Wembley (Andy Serkis, having way too much fun as a Rupert Murdoch-ish mogul) that Field sees potential for bringing Fred onto her team to help write edgy speeches for her global warming initiative.

As set-ups go, this one doesn’t strain credibility or believability, but Long Shot is just getting started.

click to enlarge Bob Odenkirk is hysterical as a sleazy actor who gets elected POTUS simply because he played one on TV. - Philipe Bossé/Lionsgate
Philipe Bossé/Lionsgate
Bob Odenkirk is hysterical as a sleazy actor who gets elected POTUS simply because he played one on TV.

The film perfectly marries and enhances the best aspects of each actor’s individual style.

Theron can be lethal and brutal (see Atomic Blonde), but it’s her comedic timing and physical humor that rarely get a showcase (check out the underrated Tully), and Long Shot allows her to shine. She’s always powerful, but not so self-conscious that she can’t let her nerd flag fly whenever she hears Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love” from Pretty Woman or waxes poetic about Pauly Shore in Encino Man.

And Rogen, for whom physical comedy comes easy, is gifted an opportunity to be a leading man who is equal parts silly and vulnerable, but always desirable. Trust me when I say this is not the typical Hollywood mismatched union. It actually works and makes sense. 

Field teaches Flarsky the ins and outs of the Beltway while he introduces her to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (“They just shot the pirate guy!” Field exclaims about Nick Fury while watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and rappers 2 Chainz and Lil Yachty.

Best of all, Long Shot never crosses the line from comedy to juvenile farce. I call this the McCarthy-Schumer divide, that moment when a joke just goes on too long or goes way too far to the point of being painfully unfunny. Long Shot threatens to do just that, on two occasions, but thankfully quickly course-corrects, in large part due to the whip-smart script by Liz Hannah (The Post) and Dan Sterling (The Interview, The Sarah Silverman Program).

And speaking of the script, holy shit, Long Shot will literally have you spitting out soda. Here’s a sampling of some of the best punchlines:

You dressed me like Cap’N Crunch’s Grindr date.

I 69’d Fidel Castro once. You thought his beard was big.

Are women mentally unfit to hold the presidency? Here to talk about it are Chris Brown, Jeremy Piven and Brett Ratner.

Even better, for a political comedy with an actual message about the fate of the planet and the continued diminishment of women by politicians and the media, Long Shot plays to both bases, providing an olive branch to unite staunch Democrats and Republicans through bipartisan laughs.

And that’s all before the (literal) money shot that proves no matter how smart, no matter how socially conscious, there’s nothing quite as funny as seeing a grown man ejaculate straight into his own beard.

John W. Allman has spent more than 25 years as a professional journalist and writer, but he’s loved movies his entire life. Good movies, awful movies, movies that are so gloriously bad you can’t help but champion them. Since 2009, he has cultivated a review column and now a website dedicated to the genre films that often get overlooked and interviews with cult cinema favorites like George A. Romero, Bruce Campbell and Dee Wallace. Contact him at Blood Violence and Babes.com, on Facebook @BloodViolenceBabes or on Twitter @BVB_reviews.

About The Author

John W. Allman

John W. Allman has spent more than 25 years as a professional journalist and writer, but he’s loved movies his entire life. Good movies, awful movies, movies that are so gloriously bad you can’t help but champion them. Since 2009, he has cultivated a review column and now a website dedicated to the genre films...
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